Thursday, June 9, 2016

Dr. Amelia is thirsty about rudeness.

Is it them, or is it me?

If I set up off campus experience that involves bothering someone else in the community to make time to talk to us at their place of business, and we are supposed to all leave at, say, our regular class time AND if a kid misses multiple sessions with no notice, is he rude or am I expecting too much? In his mind, he is skipping class. In mine, everyone else is arriving late because we have to wait around for him to show up.

If the students ask for chances to engage with the community outside of our class, and I set up an optional volunteering opportunity that students sign up for, is it rude for them to just not show after they sign up? In their minds, I think they are missing an optional thing. In mine, I went out and bought stuff for a project AND community folks bothered to come to campus to work with them and they just blew them off.

I believe in community work, but I find it really embarrassing that their actions get exposed to the larger world this way. 

Q: Are they rude, or do I expect too much?


  1. If he can't make the off campus experience but he's expected to be there, an email noting he can't make it should be common courtesy. By making everyone wait, he's showing a lack of respect for the time of others.

    For the ones that sign up, then blow it off, that's just wrong. If you sign up, you're saying you're coming. If you can't come, you send a note. This happened with a club that I advise. It was for professional networking with a group of prestigious firms. I had the officers contact the miscreants to ask why they blew it off. They just didn't feel like going. I told the officers to ban those kids from any other off site visits.

    Amelia, given the time you devote to setting up these visits, you deserve better. Go ahead and be pissed.

  2. You do not expect too much. This is why I stopped inviting guest speakers for class years ago: it's just too embarrassing for me, when professionals who graduated from college decades ago see what modern students have come to. As an anonymous poster on "100 Reasons NOT to Go to Graduate School" wrote:

    "Undergrads ARE worse than people in general. I defy you to call your boss a 'bitch' or give her the finger, or sit sullen and inattentive while he talks to you, or argue with everything he says, or slam your fist down on his desk, or falsify your work report in the most obvious way possible and then lie about it. You will be fired. Undergrads know they can get away with being weenies because most of the time TAs are not empowered to do much about it. Your twenty-something friends don't have to work with you--it's a different relationship."

  3. In the last few years shocking rudeness has increased and considerateness has decreased. As you might know, for decades narcissism scores have been increasing and empathy scores have been decreasing in young people. It all fits together, especially when we factor in the "everything now" ethos of digital life. While very disturbing, such developments are predictable.

  4. Did you expect too much? No, you did not expect enough. Next time, you will expect more. You will expect them to disappoint you and break your heart.

  5. Pennsylvania PennyJune 10, 2016 at 4:45 AM

    Amelia, of course you aren't expecting too much. Your young idiots are pushing the envelope way beyond bursting. Can you set things up so that appalling behavior like this affects their grades? And Fulton Fred's procedure of banning the miscreants from future opportunities is exactly right.

    It's a pity that college students still have to learn simple respect like this, but these are the times we live in.

  6. They certainly seem rude to me, and it doesn't seem to me that you're expecting too much. But the problem can be put in less moralistic/judgmental terms: clearly your understandings of what constitutes appropriate behavior in the circumstances and your don't align. And that means that, like or not, whether you think you should have to or not, you need to spell out your expectations, and perhaps give them some teeth (if you're offering extra credit for participation, can't you deduct the same number of points for RSVPing in the affirmative and not showing up? Seems fair to me, as long as you warn them in advance, though you'll then have to sift through the whole legitimate vs. illegitimate excuses thing, which raises the hassle/stress factor yet more, and makes one (well, me) question whether doing anything "extra" is worth it).

    Making it clear that the group is leaving at x time, and that everybody should be there 10 minutes ahead of x time, and then actually leaving at x time (with directions available for those who are late if that's feasible) also makes sense to me.

    Maybe you should sit down with them at the beginning of the semester and point out the tradeoffs (for you, for them, for future students who might want similar experiences), and ask them if they actually want such opportunities? Maybe even put the problem to them, and have *them* draw up some sort of contract/system of penalties for those who don't follow through on what they say they'll do? I've never tried that, but I've heard from teachers who have that they often have to keep the little dears from being overly draconian. So maybe that would work?

    This is an odd generation. Most of them mean well, I think, but they've had very little practice managing their own affairs, and they need a lot of guidance with stuff that I'm pretty sure most of us learned sometime in junior high/high school, if not kindergarten. Remember, this is the generation that, among other oddities, has a number of members who don't even want drivers' licenses when they turn 16 (or 16.5, or whatever the local limit is). I'm sure they have their strengths, but the whole mindset seems very odd to this very late boomer.

    1. Oops. 2nd half of 2nd sentence of 1st paragraph should read: "clearly their understandings of what constitutes appropriate behavior in the circumstances and yours don't align"

      I guess it all comes under the heading of educating them, but the list of areas in which we need to educate them does seem to be expanding exponentially.

    2. I don't disagree, but I think the driver's license thing is a red herring.

      They don't want licenses because:
      a) owning a car is expensive; if you don't have a car at your disposal then then a license is only to help others, and
      b) Unlike previous generations, they can socialize at any time without needing quick cross-town transportaion

      I sympathize: cars have always been a necessary evil to me, rather than something adult and responsible.


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